Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the cabinet to speed up the implementation of projects to benefit the people as the government has only one year left in office.
Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, Gen Chan-o-cha said the government has so far approved the spending of 984 billion baht of the 1-trillion-baht loan endorsed by the cabinet in April last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the prime minister, about 73% of the funds have been disbursed and the government has earmarked the remaining 15 billion baht to subsidise utility bills.
Gen Chan-o-cha said he has instructed cabinet ministers to expedite schemes over the next year and make plans that can be used by the next government, stressing that continuity is key.
“I have no objection to project proposals but they must be examined and screened by several levels of committees. The public and private sectors all participate in the project reviews. These schemes are not designed for anyone in particular but for the Thai people,” he said.
He said all the plans are prepared from the bottom up and they are vetted by parties concerned before they are reviewed by the cabinet.
“I’ve stressed that within one year the government should deliver concrete results on what it has done and outline its plan for the year ahead,” he said.
He also assured that the government would ensure transparency in spending.
According to Gen Chan-o-cha, several countries have begun economic rehabilitation and several international agencies expect the situation to improve next year.
He said Thailand has its own challenges in rehabilitating its economy and keeping the recovery on track, noting that the government expects to generate 100 billion baht from border trade.
Gen Chan-o-cha said the government has been working on several persistent problems including student and teacher debts.
He pointed out that the government needs to be prudent when addressing these long-standing problems to make sure its attempts to solve the problems do not spawn new ones.
“The government is working on these issues and it takes time because it involves large numbers of people and massive debts. We are figuring out how to tackle these problems without creating more. We have to be careful,” he said.
Gen Chan-o-cha said easing farmers’ plight is also a tough task for the government and he has asked agencies such as the Commerce Ministry and the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to work out how to boost their income.
He said one of the key issues that needs to be implemented is education reform and the education draft law has been submitted to parliament for consideration.
He insisted the country’s education system is not a failure even though it is in need of improvement.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the coalition Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties said their parties are ready for the next election.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said his party had made much more progress in recruiting election candidates for more than 20 constituencies in Bangkok so far and almost 50 constituencies in the South.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said his party was always ready for an election.